1. How long have you been with Aon and what has your journey in the business looked like?
Commenced with Aon in June 2009 which is just over 9 years ago as a broker in what is known today as Financial Services Group (FSG). I then transitioned to Commercial (formerly known as Retail) to take on a Team Manager role. After Project Penguin, I was appointed as one of the original Service Manager’s in Aon Client Services. In November 2013 I joined the Compliance team.
2. When exiting the armed forces, what was the most challenging aspect to adapting to corporate life?
After spending 6 years in the Australian Army - Psychology Corps, one of the biggest transition challenges was explaining how my military skills translate to a civilian work environment. I had to think about what I did daily in the military and how many of the skills I used were essential for the normal workforce. Once I developed and valued this self-knowledge it was a lot easier to communicate these translatable skills in the corporate world.
3. If you were to re-live that period, what would you now do differently?
Military life was invaluable and I feel privileged to have served in the armed forces. There’s no denying it was tough and demanding but also very rewarding, particularly for a female service woman who was fortunate to work daily with a fully ranked Colonel. I still regard this man today as the best and most trusted mentor I’ve ever had. As such, the only thing I’d do differently is identify a civilian mentor or at the very least a strong support network who can relate and help nurture my transition.
4. Looking back, what skill(s) from your military career have you found transferable and most valuable?
Military life taught me resilience, self-discipline, being adaptable, self-confidence, structured, goal orientated, fitness for life, creativity, pay attention to the detail, get the job done, remain calm in stressful situations, communicate critical information clearly, meet deadlines, display maturity, problem solve, be a team player, loyalty and exhibit a strong work ethic.
5. If you could give one piece of advice to someone about how to make a successful transition, what would it be?
First and foremost, be proud of your military service. You have just come from a structured environment in which you were trained to develop responses and take initiative to accomplish a task/mission. It’s important to understand there will be an adjustment period as you integrate back into civilian culture so be patient. The standard modes of military thinking and behaviour will be vastly different from those of the civilian workforce and this may be at times met with frustration, intolerance and confusion. Once you recognise these differences, you’ll be able to adapt to them more easily. Remember, service members are excellent at adapting to new situations.
6. Any other comments?
Although veterans have been trained to obey orders, very few veterans are “yes women/men”. Because of their leadership experiences and intuition skills, as employees, veterans won’t shy away from flagging mistakes or asking the boss to think twice about a big decision. Embrace this quality about yourself because a solid corporate leader will respect and value this.